Vin65 Blog

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Brent Johnson
July 13, 2008 | Ecommerce | Brent Johnson

Does Your E-commerce Site Add Value or Headaches?

You’d think by now someone trying to sell something on the internet would remember while setting up their ecommerce site, how frustrating some shopping carts and forms can be.

I host a group on Facebook called Okanagan Wines, each Friday three other guys and myself taste a one varietal from two different Okanagan wineries. We realized we needed to order wine directly from the wineries because of the selection, or lack thereof, in the liquor stores. I started out by visiting wineries websites to order wine and I ended up with a headache.

I was looking to buy only one bottle but the minimums were either 6 or 12, so that they could put it in a case. Is this convenient for me or the winery? Why can’t you allow me to buy whatever quantity the customer wants?! If it’s not a full case just charge the same shipping amount as a full case. I went through more than 20 different websites trying to buy wine and after a while of searching I found two sites that would let me buy one bottle. (Is it me or this strange? I’m trying to buy one bottle of wine but because of their e-commerce sites I can’t).

The second website that we ordered one bottle from had an error during the check out both times I tried to order it.

The forms were a huge part of why the user experience was so terrible. Most of the forms were lengthy and asking for more information necessary for sale. On several site I needed to sign up for an account in order to purchase the wine only to find out later that the minimum as a case of six. This should be clearly outlined before I have to sign up.

Are Okanagan Wineries serious about e-commerce on their websites? If you have an e-commerce site here are a few tips:

  1. Easy navigation
  2. Logical product categories
  3. Clear pricing
  4. Appropriate functionality – you might want a:
    • Search box
    • Minimal Clicks to Order
    • Optional Registration
  5. Simple checkout process
  6. Error-proof payment system

What do you want to see out of your e-commerce site? Have any horror stories from websites you’ve bought from, or tried to buy from?


Andrew's Gravatar
@ Jul 16, 2008 at 9:24 AM
This article at Future Now about setting expectations at the cart level fits along with what you are saying. (They even link to a cart on a winery website to demo a bad experience).

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